May is Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month!!

May, 2024

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Asthma is a chronic lung disease that requires ongoing medical treatment. The disease affects 16.4 million adults (aged ≥ 18 years)and 7.0 million children (aged < 18 years) in the United States regardless of age, sex, race, or ethnicity (CDC). The disease has considerably impacted the economy and resulted in many missed school days (Pate et al, 2018). In New York, asthma affects more than 400,000 individuals, including 152,000 children aged 13 or younger. It is the leading cause of inpatient hospital stays and emergency department visits for children in NYC, with more than 42,000 hospitalizations and 6,000 emergency department visits by children under the age of 17 annually (NYC Health). While the exact cause of the disease is unknown and cannot be cured, it can be controlled with medication, self-action or management plan, and avoiding exposure to environmental triggers.

Finding Early Signs

Asthma is characterized by the inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside the tubes. Asthma affects the airways leading into your lungs, known as bronchial tubes, as well as the smaller airways called bronchioles. If you have asthma, these lower airways can be inflamed; meaning that the inside of the tubes can swell and produce excess mucus. This narrows the opening, making it difficult for air to travel in and out of the lungs, leading to symptoms including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightening, among others. Although asthma is typically diagnosed in children, it can strike anyone at any age. The reason why someone gets it is still somewhat mysterious: Despite how common asthma is, researchers are still unable to pinpoint its exact cause. Asthma can run in families, so genetics undoubtedly plays a part, but you can still get the disease on your own. Environmental triggers—items you come into touch with that cause an asthma attack, also known as an asthma episode or an asthma flare-up—also play a role. The fact that not everyone with asthma has every trigger or family history makes researchers uncertain as to the precise origin of the disease.

Our Strategy

As part of National Asthma Awareness Month, CenRID launched its #StopAsthma Initiative by hosting a table at the Bethlehem YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day event to help reduce the burden of asthma in New York. Our strategy is focused on dispelling and reframing some of the common asthma myths and misconceptions respectively, promoting positive attitudes towards self-care and enhancing treatment adherence, and strengthening family social support, among others.

During the event, we provided ready-to-use tools, resources, and educational materials that are pivotal in the fight against the disease. We also encouraged every person living with asthma to develop an asthma action plan with assistance from their healthcare provider. Our objective is to host several tabling events in the Capital Region to increase awareness of the disease.

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